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Arsenal hero Merson: Injuries prevented Owen from being England great

Arsenal hero Paul Merson has paid tribute to Stoke City striker Michael Owen after he announced his planned retirement this week.

Merson wrote in the Daily Star: "Michael Owen would have blown Bobby Charlton's England goalscoring record out of the water if he had steered clear of injuries.

"I don't think he gets the credit he deserves as, due to the injuries he's had over the last five years or so, people seem to have forgotten how good he was.

"I remember him scoring that wonder goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup in France.

"I was on the bench at the time and we were all sitting there thinking, 'Wow!'

"You can see it on my face if you watch the footage when the camera pans across to us and we're all up celebrating.

"Michael was only 18 but even in training you could see glimpses of his talent. We had some great centre-halves then like Tony Adams and Sol Campbell and he was doing it to them too."

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